Grey Roads

Photo by John-Mark Smith from Pexels

With GPS, phones, tablets, voices over the car speaker giving me directions these days, maps, as some of us olders know them, are a thing of the past. I’m talking map maps, real maps–maps on paper that you could hold, fold, tear, and spill coffee on. They had blue roads (the really big roads), red roads (not quite as big), heavy black roads (next down the food chain of size), just plain old black (further down yet), and the best of all–grey roads.

I must clarify something here—when I had to use a map, particularly if I was on a trip, the blues, the reds, and the heavy blacks were the most important to me at that time. They were a faster, smoother, easier way from point A to point B, and since time was of an essence, they were the roads to take. There was also a chance that they were more cluttered.

Nowadays, I like the grey roads the best. I’ll explain. Maybe you can identify. I visit my daughter in KY frequently. It’s not uncommon at all for her to suggest on a Saturday that maybe after church on Sunday her and I should go “grey roading”. The first time I heard that, yes, I was puzzled. She simply answered any questions I had with “wait and see”. The rest is history, and I love “grey roading” and look forward to those times.

“Grey roading” is (to us) a Sunday afternoon drive out in the country. It’s slow, it takes time, it’s full of surprises, it’s quiet, one sees the unexpected, it’s peaceful and relaxing….and it is never, ever, a planned route. The only destination is to ultimately find one’s way home. You see, you don’t use any kind of a map. You merely turn onto a grey road and go. Grey roads typically don’ t have lines in the center (though some might), lines on the sides, and rarely have guardrails. They are, essentially, paved country trails that serve the very rural/farm/agriculture areas giving them travel access to the areas where the stores are at.

There are lots of intersecting grey roads and it’s always fun to make random turns just to see where they go. The whole process is done without looking at any maps to see where one is or where the road might be going. One of the fun things about “grey roading” is seeing many, many things that one might not ordinarily see. There are quaint farms, different kinds of homesteads, typically an abundance of assorted church buildings, always some cemeteries scattered around (always fun to stop at), and just odd stuff, like this sign in front of a “restaurant” gas station combo out in the boonies:

Perhaps the lady on the deck has had a few of those biscuits.

“Grey roading” is pretty much how I like to travel through life now-a-days. Slow paced, not on the super-highway or in the fast lane. Keeping keenly aware of my ultimate destination (my real and final home) while traveling the journey to get there. Being relaxed, taking the time to smell the roses. Loving the beauty along the way and discovering new beauty to love. And most of all- doing it in community. Hey, and if I want to stop and grab a biscuit, I can.

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